Arsenal’s Cech Has To Set Down Early Marker Against Old Mates At Chelsea


The picture above says it all, Petr Cech will forever be linked with Chelsea. He was at the club for eleven seasons after all and won all there was win with the Blues.

But this season is going to be different for the Cech Republic international.

The goalkeeper spent the majority of last season sitting on the bench at Stamford Bridge as young Belgian goalie Thibaut Courtois excelled in between the sticks.

At the age of thirty-three and with his goalkeeping qualities still intact, Cech realised that he would have to depart Jose Mourinho’s side if he was going to get more first-team action.

That’s when Chelsea’s London rivals Arsenal stepped in with an offer.

An old Mourinho foe (Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger) did enough to persuade Cech that his future remained in England’s capital and that the Gunners could offer him a great place to continue his illustrious career.

Cech was given Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s blessing to join their rivals and a £10m move was soon agreed.

He would personally thank the Chelsea owner on Twitter:

The experienced goalkeeper was also quick to thank the Chelsea fans who had considered him a hero for a decade.

It’s believed that Chelsea boss Mourinho wasn’t in favour of allowing Cech to move across the city. You can see it from his point of view, Abramovich has effectively strengthened the opposition. Had it been up to Jose I doubt he would have sanctioned the transfer.

Tomorrow will be a huge day for Arsenal and their new number one.

As fate would have it, Cech’s first competitive (semi competitive) match for the Gunners will be against his old employers.

It’s an ideal opportunity to show the Arsenal fans, his new teammates and the whole footballing world that he has left Chelsea both physically and mentally.

If Petr can help secure the first piece of English silverware for his new team, while preventing Jose and his men getting their hands on it, then Arsenal’s confidence could go through the roof before the English Premier League campaign kicks-off next weekend.

Many believe that Petr Cech is the missing link that Arsenal having been missing since Jens Lehmann’s initial departure in 2008.

The Czech keeper has world-class attributes. He has vast winning experience winning league titles, domestic cups and a Champions League trophy whilst at Chelsea.

In Premier League history, only David James has produced more league cleansheets than Cech’s 168, with Petr only two away from James’ 170 cleansheets record. You can only imagine that Cech will break that record at the Emirates with the Gunners.

Last season Cech still produced fantastic saves and he still has tremendous stature that intimidates opposing forwards. He will no doubt save Arsenal points this up an coming campaign. Just how many remains to be seen. Can he finally end their long wait for another league title? I suppose that’s the £10m question.

Tomorrow Petr Cech has to lay down a marker to prove that he can bring more trophies to Arsenal and shine against his former teammates. A stunning display can start his Arsenal career off with a bang.

Fate usually likes to throw odd curveballs when it comes to football. What money on Cech producing a cleansheet or saving the winning penalty tomorrow? Or maybe he’ll make a blunder that see’s former side clinch the Community Shield!

All I know is that Cech will be judged no matter what and he will remain a superb keeper who will have a fantastic season at his new club!

As they say class is permanent.


Predicting The Scottish Premiership’s Final Standings


Ok so the newly branded Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership kicks-off this weekend.

That got me thinking about how I see things ending up.

Obviously Celtic are favourites as they have dominated the league recently, winning the title on the last four occasions.

But how will the table look next May? Well here is my predictions.

Please note, I am never great at getting all of these right and it’s just a bit of fun!

  1. Celtic
  2. Aberdeen
  3. Dundee United
  4. Hearts
  5. Dundee
  6. Inverness Caley Thistle
  7. St Johnstone
  8. Kilmarnock
  9. Partick Thistle
  10. Motherwell
  11. Ross County
  12. Hamilton Accies

As I am here I might as well say that I think Rangers will win the Championship with Hibs finishing second and St Mirren third.

The League Cup – Hearts win over Dundee.

The Scottish Cup – Celtic win over Rangers.

Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Liverpool/Balotelli/Bologna – The Best Short-Term Solution?


Many a footballing observer would have told you last summer that Mario Balotelli’s move to Liverpool wasn’t going to go to plan.

Most probably didn’t envisage that the deal would turn quite as sour as quickly as it has though. The Italian international never enjoyed a honeymoon period at Anfield or even a golden patch of form.

The transfer sniffed like a panic buy from the off.

Obviously Liverpool needed striking reinforcements as they prepared to replace mercurial talent Luis Suarez. They tried and failed to lure Alexis Sanchez to England’s north-west.

Then suddenly Balotelli was the main target as the club’s transfer committee struggled to find viable options.

There’s no doubt that Mario has an amazing natural talent. Before joining Liverpool, Balotelli had enjoyed a decent scoring record of eighty-eight goals in two hundred and twenty-two matches. All that before he was in his mid-twenties.

But in Merseyside, the striker could only manage a miserly four goals in twenty-eight appearances.

In truth Mario Balotelli was only going to succeed with the ‘Reds’ if the team was set-up with him as the focal point. But alas Brendan Rodgers was never going to change his sides tactics just to accommodate the twenty-four year old hitman.

To be fair to Rodgers you can see his point of view. No player should be bigger than the club’s footballing philosophy and Balo has a long record of disruption and petulance.

Rodgers likes his frontmen to work hard for the team and press further up the pitch when the team don’t have the ball. Those aren’t ideas that suit Mario’s style as he prefers to be more direct.

The Liverpool boss stated earlier this year that Mario was struggling to adapt his game:

“Working with Mario, we’ve seen that he is someone who is better in and around the box. That level of pressing and intensity is not part of his game.”

Now many of us could have said as much before Liverpool forked out £16m for his services last year.

I seriously doubt Mario was ever really enthused about returning to England. He complained about the country throughout his time at Manchester City and looked overjoyed when he was paraded as an AC Milan player in 2013.

Given the fact that the forward has missed Liverpool’s tour of the Asia/Australia and has also been omitted from the first-team’s trip  to Finland, it certainly looks like there is no way back for Mario at Anfield.

That has alerted a few clubs back in his homeland.

It’s been widely reported that Liverpool could do a cut-price deal of just £7m for the Italian striker.

Newly promoted Serie A side Bologna could be an ideal destination, but only if a deal can be agreed. I doubt they’d be able to afford the full £7m fee this summer or match his lucrative wage packet for that matter but maybe a deal could still be done. Possibly a £2m season long loan with a £5m option to buy at the end of the campaign? Plus I Rossoblu could pay a slice of his wage this season as well.

Now that probably isn’t the offer Liverpool would have hoped for but it may be the best that they get this summer. It seems no club wants to be laboured with the player on a full-time basis at the moment and want to see him settle in at their club first. I can only see a permanent deal being done this transfer window if Liverpool and the striker both agree to lowering their demands.

A move to the Emilia-Romagna club could work out well for the attacker. It will give him a stage to perform on and show the world that he isn’t washed up or too much bother.

If he can get his head down and score for Bologna and help keep them in the Italian top flight then that will give him the chance to prove to national team manager Antonio Conte that he is worthy of a place in his Euro 2016 squad. The striker certainly needs to do something to convince Conte he’s worth a place in the Azzurri selection.

After taking charge of the Italian national team, Antonio Conte said this about Mario:

“I’m not so arrogant as to claim that I’m different from the great coaches, but the past tells us that they failed to change Balotelli,’

 ‘It’ll be up to the player, but I don’t have much time and I need certain things.’

Maybe a season at a club in the lower reaches of Serie A can at least show the Italian manager that Balotelli can at least has a willingness to try and adapt.

Being the hero and the main man at Bologna could give Mario a sense of pride and purpose. That may see him settle down, even if it’s just slightly!

If he’s waiting for a huge club to come in and take a gamble on him, then he could be waiting forever. The player is running out of chances, even his agent (Mino Raiola) knows that.

For some inspiration, Mario Balotelli should take a look at the 1997-98 Serie A season. In that year, a distinguished Italian international striker arrived at Bologna. He too was considered high maintenance and not worth the hassle. But during that season at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, Roberto Baggio scored a whopping twenty-two league goals in thirty Serie A outings. He was then included in the Azzurri’s 1998 World Cup squad and would join Internazionale in a big deal later on in 98.

The benefits for Bologna in signing Mario on loan are obvious. They’d be getting an extremely talented hitman, who should be hungry to prove himself and be determined to help the club secure the highest possible league finish.

The Italian city, is a university city and as such may cause distractions for Signor Balotelli. But let’s face it, Mario could find a distraction in an empty cupboard.

The forward has become a sideshow act at Anfield. The move has been a disappointment for all involved.

The quicker they can part ways the better. Maybe just maybe the Italian misfit can find his way at a smaller club and finally let his footballing ability do the talking!

Mario Balotelli’s next chapter will be a defining one, so he better make it count in his favour!

More Fool Man United If They Believed They’d Sign Sergio Ramos This Summer


It has been widely reported that Spanish international Sergio Ramos is ready to commit his future to current employers Real Madrid.

It’s amazing how quickly things can change in football.

Only last month we were being told that the Spanish defender was determined to quit the La Liga giants and had his heart set on a move to Manchester United.

United tried to make the most out of the saga by trying to get a swap deal done involving Ramos and United’s keeper David de Gea, a player who has been interesting Madrid all summer. The Manchester giants were also credited with making two big bids for the defender.

It has looked as though the central defender has been Man United’s main defensive target. He would have offered the Premier League club vast experience at the back and an established ball playing centre-back. Last season the Old Trafford side were lacking at the back and Ramos would have certainly improved things.

But surely Louis van Gaal could see that his club were being used, as Ramos looked to improve on his current Real deal.

After all it has happened in the past. Former ‘Red Devils’ player Cristiano Ronaldo seemed to use the same tactic a few years back.

Maybe this was all a ploy by Man Utd as they tried to distract Real’s president Florentino Perez away from his goal of signing David de Gea this summer. Although now that Ramos seems to be staying at the Bernabeu, expect Señor Perez to go all out between now and the end of August in his bid to force a move for the goalkeeper through.

This could represent a shockingly bad summer for Manchester United if De Gea were to leave for Los Blancos this transfer window, along with the Ramos snub and no other new  centre back coming in.

You’d hope that Van Gaal will have more defensive transfer targets in mind but only time will tell.

It will now be interesting to see how the David de Gea transfer narrative ends. Can United hold out for the £34m that they want? Will Real managed to get the price closer to £18m? Or will the Spanish cracks wait until the next summer when they can get the keeper on a free?

I’d imagine Perez will come in with at least one more bid but I doubt it will reach the £30m mark. His coach (Rafa Benitez) won’t have a problem with either Keylor Navas or Kiko Casillas starting the campaign as his number one.

The Ramos debacle hasn’t been a great success for Manchester United but I suppose it all depends on what they do next.

Should they end this transfer window with David De Gea remaining in between the sticks, a new solid centre-half coming in and a new world-class forward then the club’s fans won’t care a jot about Sergio Ramos or his famous employers!

Boyata Goal Vital For Celtic In Search For Champions League Return

Celtic Park

Plenty of Celtic fans will have woken up this morning with finger nails bitten to the core as their side struggled to overcome Azerbaijan league champions Qarabag.

But as the minutes passed by and it looked as if Celtic were going to have to settle for a 0-0 draw, new summer signing Dedryck Boyata headed the ‘Bhoys’ in front with only eight minutes left on the clock.

That goal could prove to be vital, if Celtic are going to remain on course to return to the Champions League groups stages after a years absence.

It’s no secret that Celtic have suffered from a disappointing away record in their recent European history. Now things may not be as bad as the Martin O’Neill Champions League away days but names like Shakhter Karagandy, Legia Warsaw and Sion have all picked up big home wins against Celtic in recent seasons.

But at least Ronny Deila’s men have a lead to protect as they head for Baku next Wednesday. That one goal could be extremely important.

It means that Qarabag have to come out and attack the Scottish champions. That should allow Celtic the chance to counter attack and grab that vital away goal.

I was very surprised that Deila decided against starting Leigh Griffiths last night.

The Scottish striker has had a fantastic year so far and he was certainly needed after John Guidetti’s goals dried up after Christmas!

Griffiths has also enjoyed a goal laden preseason bagging goals against Rennes, Dukla Prague and a hattrick against Spanish La Liga side Eibar. He also scored in the second leg win over Icelandic side Starnan in the last round of Champions League qualifying.

I’m sure Ronny Deila has his reasons for starting Nadir Ciftci ahead of the Scottish international forward, but at the moment it’s puzzling me.

Getting a cleansheet at home, was another big plus for the Celtic side. Any loss of an away goal can be disastrous in a European tie and by not conceding one Celtic have enhanced their chances of securing a place in the next round of the competition.

Boyata’s late goal is extremely important for the Hoops but the tie is far from over!

The side from Glasgow’s east end will have to defend well in Azerbaijan and have high concentration levels from the off. They cannot afford to make a slow start and then chase the game if they concede any silly goals.

The Scottish Premiership champs also need to make the most of any chances that they can create against a resilient Qarabag.

Deila summed it up well in his post match press conference:

“We have to play a top match to get through.” 

Should they manage to do all that, then it could see Celtic reach the final qualifying round and take step closer to the Champions League group stages.

Lucas Digne Could Be Final Piece Of Liverpool’s Jigsaw


Liverpool have enjoyed quite a busy transfer window so far.

The Raheem Sterling saga has finally ended with the forward moving away from Anfield in a £49m move to Manchester City. Obviously inspirational captain Steven Gerrard has also departed as have a few more lesser low profile faces.

Quite a few new recruits have been brought in to bolster the squad.

Christian Benteke offers something different in the lead strikers role, James Milner brings in a winning pedigree and a wealth of experience, Danny Ings has plenty of potential, right-back Nathaniel Clyne should offer more consistency at the back and Brazilian Roberto Firmino is the one that Brendan Rodgers hopes will catch the fans imagination and turn games in Liverpool’s favour.

But the Reds may still need a new left-back to come in and offer more from that side.

So it’s no coincidence that French internationalist Lucas Digne has been linked with a move to Liverpool all summer.

I really believe that Liverpool would be signing a future star if they managed to persuade Digne to leave Paris Saint-Germain and join them for the up and coming Premier League season.

I still can’t believe that the French champions and their boss Laurent Blanc would let the youngster leave, especially if the reported £8.5m fee is to be believed.

PSG shelled out £2m more than that only two seasons ago.

It’s true that the twenty-two year old’s career has stalled slightly at the Parc des Princes but that is more due to Maxwell playing extremely well at left-back rather than Digne declining in anyway.

With Brazilian full-back Maxwell turning thirty-four in August, surely this is the perfect season for Blanc to make Digne his first choice left-back.

But it seems as though PSG aren’t putting up much of a fight in trying to convince Lucas to stay in the French capital.

Last week when it looked as though Digne was about to stay on at PSG for at least another year, boss Blanc said this:

“This is firstly a very good thing for him and possibly for us, should he stay with us this season,” 

The word ‘possibly’ must have been hard for Lucas Digne to take in. It is hardly a ringing endorsement of his abilities or a suggestion he’d see more game time next term.

Blanc also recently confirmed that his young player had requested to leave:

With that apparent unwillingness to try and make him feel wanted at Les Rouge-et-Bleu, you can see why the young left sided defender may want to try his luck elsewhere.

He is a player that I’ve admired since his Lille days, when he broke into their first-team as a teenager. I honestly think he has what it takes to become the world’s best left-back one day.

Digne already has eight senior caps for France and he’ll be determined to stay in Didier Deschamps thoughts as his nation host next summers Euros. Along with Paul Pogba and Geoffrey Kondogbia, he was a stand-out player in the French under-20 team that won the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2013.

Digne likes to burst forward and get involved with those around him. Defensively he’s also pretty sound and known for his high concentration levels. Has an impressive engine and also has a decent cross on him.

Last term, Alberto Moreno failed to convince the Liverpool faithful that he was good enough to be relied upon. Having a competition between the two young left-backs would please Brendan Rodgers, especially if the victor could go on and become a Premier League star!

Two injury plagued years for Jose Enrique could see the Spaniard struggle to regain top form at Anfield. It may suit him to move on and start afresh elsewhere.

So I really see it as a huge positive for Liverpool if they can bring in a left-back of Lucas Digne’s ilk. As I said earlier, they may end up signing a player who could become the best player in the world for that position. That’s how much I think of Lucas Digne and his qualities.

Mourinho/Benitez – The Feud That Keeps On Giving!

Rafa Jose

In football sometimes we get rivalries that never seem to go away and never disappoint us either!

One such feud is that between Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez.

Both are well respected coaches, who have won endless amounts of trophies and awards between them. Yet the two world-class managers just can’t stand each other.

It’s quite impressive that the two gentleman can still garner back-page headlines due to their dislike for each other, especially when you consider that they haven’t managed in the same domestic league competition for almost eight years now!

The duo’s latest spat erupted bizarrely after Rafael’s good lady stated that her husband has had to tidy up after Jose at three different clubs.

Mrs Benitez said in an interview with La Region:

“Real Madrid are the third of Jose Mourinho’s old teams Rafa has coached,”

“We tidy up his (Mourinho) messes. If you think about it, of course you end up crossing paths. There are only a few world-class clubs out there.”

The comment was probably a bit of tongue in cheek but if it was designed to spark a response from the self proclaimed ‘Special One’ then it surely worked.

After a preseason penalties victory over FC Barcelona, Jose decided to hit back at the claims:

“The lady is a bit confused, with all respect. I’m not laughing, because her husband went to Chelsea to replace Roberto Di Matteo and he went to Real Madrid and replaced Carlo Ancelotti, “

“The only club where her husband replaced me was at Inter Milan, where in six months he destroyed the best team in Europe at the time.”

To be fair to Jose, you cannot really argue with his observations.

Five years had actually passed between Jose’s first stint in charge at Chelsea and Rafa taking over. Also during that stint Benitez had constant problems with certain members of the squad and with the majority of Chelsea’s fans. The Portuguese boss would then takeover from Rafa at Stamford Bridge and eventually bring back the Premier League title.

Some might say that Jose really cleaned up Rafa’s mess at Chelsea? Jose himself being one!

Another former Chelsea boss, Carlo Ancelotti, had a two year spell in charge of Real Madrid in between Jose’s era at the Bernabeu and Benitez taking the Real job this summer. During his time in charge, Carlo won the Champions League with Madrid, so I doubt he’ll be chuffed to hear that a mess has been left in the Spanish capital since his enforced departure.

Then you have the Inter Milan scenario.

Rafa Benitez had a disastrous time in charge of the Nerazzurri. He took the job after Jose had departed for Real but during Mourinho’s last season in charge Inter won a unique treble that included the Champions League title. Rafa came in and immediately rubbed the squad up the wrong way and struggled to get too many positive results.

In the end he lasted a mere six months and although he secured the World Club Cup, the Italian champions were struggling in the Serie A race and most of the club had fallen out with the Spaniard.

The Inter Milan argument is a bit of a double edged sword for Mourinho. He loves the club but he seems to love the fact that Benitez totally failed at the San Siro just as much as any of his famous victories.

Previously he said this on the Inter/Rafa scenario and about the World Club Cup triumph:

“I thought he was going to thank me for the title I gave him. Ask all the Inter fans what they think of me and him.”

The current Chelsea boss didn’t just leave it with comparing CV’s though and would then launch a personal attack against his foe and his wife:

“And for her also to think about me and to speak about me, I think she needs to occupy her time, and if she takes care of her husband’s diet she will have less time to speak about me.”

That is obviously a jab at Rafa’s podgy body shape. To be honest Mourinho is better than that but he seems to have this perverse side that loves to point out other peoples flaws.

That said obviously Mrs Benitez would have been better off not making any comments about the Jose/Rafa rivalry even if they were in jest.

The two clearly have a dislike for each other. But surely both men can just get on with their own tasks (although Rafa may point out he did nothing this time) and concentrate on their own clubs.

Now this has blown up again, you can’t help but imagine that Real Madrid and Chelsea will now draw each other at some point during this seasons Champions League campaign. What a toxic few weeks that would cause and some very interesting press conferences too.

The pair need to realise that this is just football not a rapping dispute between the East Coast and the West Coast massive.

Although if they were feuding hip-hop artists it would be Jose ‘Two Times’ Mourinho versus Rafa ‘Biggie’ Benitez! 

Saido Berahino Could Be A Spurs Star!


Speculation is mounting that Tottenham Hotspur are ready to test West Bromwich Albion’s (WBA) resolve with a £15m bid for young star striker Saido Berahino.

That has led to many debating on whether or not the twenty-one year old is ready to make such a big move.

His former boss at the Hawthorns, Alan Irvine has stated that he doesn’t think the forward is quite ready for that step up at the moment.

In an interview with BBC 5Live, Irvine said:

“Is he ready to play a huge part at a club like Tottenham who want to be challenging for the top four? Probably not yet,”

Alan goes on to say that Berahino certainly has vast potential and could reach a higher stage eventually.

But would Saido really struggle at Spurs? 

I actually think the move could be a decent one for him and suit him more than a move to one of the current ‘Top Four’ sides.

At White Hart Lane, Berahino would get more first team chances to show what he could do at a European level.

His England under-21 strike partner Harry Kane showed last season that under Mauricio Pochettino that young English players can thrive in the Tottenham starting line up , as long as they are good enough and take their chances!

Berahino actually has more English Premier League experience than Kane, making twenty-two more top flight appearances.

Both could play up-top together if Argentine coach Pochettino has enough guts to go with a striking duo. Or maybe the Spurs manager has different ideas and could put the young forward in one of the three spots in behind leadman Kane. Berahino has played on the left and in the hole behind a main striker in the past and his pace could be suited to pick up on flick ons from Harry Kane.

The fact he likes to have a few digs from outside the area could also be seen as proof that he could be suited playing somewhere off a main striker. Although I’d imagine that Spurs fans will hope he has a better strike rate than Andros Townsend!

Much is made of his age and attitude but the same things were said about Raheem Sterling. Yet the thing that people struggle to mention is that they are both talented young footballers with decent Premier League records already. In 2013-14 many people would have told you that Harry Kane wasn’t good enough to be in the Tottenham first team and won’t be good enough either. Yet he’s now being talked about as being a £40m striker.

I may anger Spurs supporters with this, but I really don’t think there is a huge step up between them and WBA. I don’t think the expectation will be huge and I don’t believe that challenging for a top four place is the place that Tottenham are at just now. Given some luck they could do it, but that might mean that they take a rik like signing a hunger young forward such as Saido.

The fee, of around £15m, isn’t ridiculous either. Again look at Sterling’s fee to Man City, now that was mental. These days getting a proven, young EPL goalscorer at a fee under £20m is seen as good business. Plus Tottenham shelled out £28m on Roberto Soldado and even that fee didn’t guarantee goals.

Some will question why aren’t the bigger sides looking at him? Well that isn’t always a bad thing. It’s actually a benefit to Spurs if anything and they need to try and snap up gems that the ‘bigger’ sides decided against purchasing. Plus if truth be told, I actually think Man Utd could do with a player like Berahino in their ranks.

Listen as long as Saido Berahino arrives at White Hart Lane ready to fight for a place in the first team, I see this being a bit of a no-brainer. As you’d be getting a great prospect who will only add goals to your team, if on form.

For me, he already has the qualities to go to London and shine at Tottenham!

Can Costa And Falcao Coexist At Chelsea?


Many may have forgotten that at Atletico Madrid, Radamel Falcao and Diego Costa were strike partners. In the 2012-13 season the duo managed to score thirty eight La Liga goals between them. With leadman Falcao getting twenty eight and sidekick Costa helping out with ten of his own.

This summer has seen the forwards have been reunited at Chelsea but much has changed since 2013!

Costa managed to step out of Falcao’s shadow and has become one of Europe’s best frontmen. No longer just a bully boy number two striker who will work hard just to see someone else get all the glory in scoring the winning goals. The Spanish hitman is now a complete striker and a great focal point for his team.

In fact in the two seasons since their Atletico Madrid days, Costa has managed to grab forty-seven league goals compared to Radamel’s fifteen.

During those two years, Colombian forward Falcao hasn’t had much luck with injuries or proving his fitness. In January 2014 he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury and hasn’t been the same player since.

Last season he joined Manchester United on loan but failed to really get going at Old Trafford. Fitness issues seemed to make United boss Louis van Gaal reluctant to trust the centre-forward in the heat of battle. That meant that Falcao only managed a meagrely four goals in England’s top flight last term.

His form, or lack there of, made it very surprising that Jose Mourinho plumped to sign the forward on a season long loan from AS Monaco. Especially when you consider that Diego Costa lead the clubs scoring charts with twenty strikes in his debut season.

They also had back-up striker Loic Remy who contributed with seven league goals. You’d imagine the Frenchman will still be Chelsea’s second forward going into the new season.

That could mean that at twenty-nine years of age Falcao, once Europe’s hottest property, could be nothing more than a replacement for veteran hitman Didier Drogba and be third back up forward at the Bridge.

By getting an odd game here or there, that would be no good for Radamel Falcao as he really needs minutes on the field and to get amongst goals regularly if he’s going to be able to resurrect his career.

But could Jose have a trick up his sleeve? 

Plenty have speculated this summer that the legendary Portuguese boss could try out Falcao and Costa as a starting duo again.

Costa complimented his teammate, when he said:

“He’s a top bloke too. He gets on very well with his team-mates and he will help us a lot off the field, in the dressing room.

“He is a really big-hearted guy and that’s the most important thing.”

Costa’s words are encouraging and show that there’s no animosity or jealousy between the two.

But if you analyse them deeper it doesn’t suggest that the Spanish international is ready to go back to the old days where he did all the spade work while Falcao got all the glory. It says he’s a good guy even if he’s not the talent that he once was.

In truth Radamel Falcao might have to be the one who sacrifices his chance of being the main striker, if he stands a chance of playing alongside Costa.

Diego is already a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge and, unlike Falcao, he took to the Premier League like a duck to water last season. So I really can’t see Jose changing his role at the club. He will continue to be number one!

So the more I think about it, I just can’t see Radamel Falcao and Diego Costa forming a partnership from the start of many Premier League fixtures next season.

I think Falcao may have a better season at Chelsea than he did at Man Utd but I really cannot see him hitting the heights that he once did at Atletico Madrid again!

That seems to be the sad truth to it all.

Could Fernando Llorente Fire Arsenal To The Title?

Emirates Stadium

As the English football season fast approaches, the press are now in overdrive as they link various players with Premier League outfits.

Arsenal will be hoping to mount a serious title challenge this term and have already brought in goalkeeper Petr Cech from rivals Chelsea to help them push towards top spot.

But it still seems as though the Gunners need a few more new faces to finally end that agonising wait for another league championship trophy.

That has seen Arsene Wenger’s men linked with quite a few players this summer.

One of the latest has been Juventus striker Fernando Llorente, who could cost around £8m.

But would the Spaniard really improve the Arsenal squad? 

Well it all depends on what role he’d be given to fill at the Gunners.

For me, Llorente wouldn’t oust Oliver Giroud from being the regularly used frontman.

But the thirty year old could be an extremely useful squad player. He’d offer a different option, that could be valuable if like last season Giroud picks up an injury. Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck all offer pace but struggle in the air and against the more aggressive opponents.

Fernando’s aerial threat would also toughen up the Arsenal side as they battle for points against the more one dimensional sides in the league. In his career the Spanish international has bagged 120 league goals in 360 games!

If Fernando Llorente does join the London side, then Wenger may have to deal with a bit of criticism from the club’s fans as they were hoping for a huge summer striking signing this pre-season.

Wenger wasn’t helped when Arsenal director Lord Harris stated in the press:

‘We could go into the market and probably buy any player in the world, apart from half a dozen who are un-buyable. In the accounts, there’s over £200million in the bank.”

That kind of talk only builds up expectations and that has the supporters dreaming of players like Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani or Gonzalo Higuain staring at the Emirates Stadium.

But at the moment it seems like most of Europe’s top clubs don’t want to discuss proven goalscorers leaving their clubs.

Signing Llorente could prove to be an ideal stop gap if Wenger wants to wait another year before pouncing on someone like Alexandre Lacazette who could be available next summer from Lyon.

If Arsenal are to challenge the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United for the Premier League trophy then they will still need a new holding midfielder and possibly a new defender too.

That again proves that Llorente could be an astute signing, that would allow Wenger to spend big on a holding middleman.

A new striker will also be welcome but I don’t subscribe to the Thierry Henry theory that Oliver Giroud isn’t good enough to handle the main goalscoring duties!

Giroud just needs luck and help around him to show off his talents.

Sometimes building a squad capable of success isn’t all about the first team or signing £30m plus players. You also need to add supplemental talents that can add an extra option that could turn certain games in your favour.

If Arsene Wenger does spend £8m of Fernando Llorente then he could get a player who strengths his squad rather than his starting eleven but that could prove to be vital in a long, hard season!